News: VMA-542 Marines learn shipboard firefighting
Story by Lance Cpl. J. R. Heins
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. – With flames, smoke and gallons of water dancing over a fire rescue training aircraft, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Marines learned the basics of shipboard firefighting at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., April 3.
Members of Marine Attack Squadron 542 hosted six Sailors with the Center for Naval Aviation and Technical Training, Lemoore, Calif., in preparation for an upcoming deployment with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
VMA-542 Marines learned about personal protective equipment, flight and hangar deck equipment and systems, and procedures and techniques for combating fires, according to Chief Petty Officer Daniel Guevara.
“The class is required for all flight air personnel aboard a ship,” said Guevara, an aviation boatswain’s mate aircraft handler with CNATT.
The Marines spent a full day training, and learning the foundations and tactics of shipboard firefighting because, aboard ship, each crewmember is a first responder. During emergencies, there is no calling 911, everyone has a responsibility to act, according to Guevara.
“This course teaches Marines the basics of what to do in case of an emergency aboard a ship,” said Guevara. “Once they are sailing, they will be able to integrate with other personnel and have a greater understanding of what to do in different situations.
For many of the Marines in the class, fighting aircraft fires is not part of their day-to-day duties. Training and learning from the CNATT Sailors helped the squadron’s Marines further prepare for their assigned roles while underway.
“You get very excited while waiting for your turn to be in charge of the hose,” said Cpl. Joseph Hicks, an airframe mechanic with VMA-542.
During training, each Marine had several opportunities to practice different roles as part of a hose-crew. Each Marine had the opportunity to control the hose nozzle during dry-run practice and then with flames. This allowed the Marines to experience each position of the hose, ensuring that they will be ready to jump into any position if needed.
“Once you get over the little bit of nervousness and remember to apply all the fundamentals you learned in class, it can be very fun,” said Hicks.